CQWW DX Contests

Below is my report from the CQWW DX SSB contest. Conditions were spectacular, and I was able to operate all 48 hours. The CW contest was a different story. I woke up with a sore throat, which got progressively worse through the day. At the 12 hour mark, I felt miserable with a full sinus infection. Clogged ears and runny eyes don’t make for an enjoyable contesting experience, so I operated part time for just under 4 meg. Still had fun all things considered!

CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB

Call: NH2T
Operator(s): N2NL
Station: NH2T

Class: SOAB HP
QTH: Guam
Operating Time (hrs): 48

Band QSOs Zones Countries
160: 37 10 15
80: 274 27 53
40: 612 34 75
20: 1053 33 97
15: 2226 36 100
10: 2769 39 103
Total: 6971 179 443 Total Score = 12,747,890

Club: Florida Contest Group


SO1R – Elecraft K3+AL1200
-Spiderbeam @40ft
-40ft vertical with a mix of top and base loading for 40/80/160
-Thee Beverages (NA, EU, VK/ZL)

I think most already know but it was a busy summer for me starting with an
unexpected diagnosis of stage 3 colon cancer in May (but currently with no
evidence of disease and an excellent future prognosis), subsequent
chemotherapy, and a forced QSY to a new location following the closing of my
former military housing area. The past several months have been extremely busy
while I relocated my station and installed three new Beverages on days when the
chemo side effects allowed (antenna work makes for great therapy!). Added to
the mix were several tropical disturbances over the past six weeks including
one that changed my Spiderbeam’s polarization from horizontal to vertical when
it bent my mast into a perfect 90 degree angle. Timing was perfect because I
got finally everything together and working last week, plus this is my chemo
“off week” with only one round remaining until complete so I felt
pretty good.

I really prefer CW to SSB and was cringing as 00z approached knowing that I
only lasted eight hours in OCDX SSB before my voice went out, but it’s CQWW SSB
and it’s my last from KH2 as I transfer somewhere new in June 2014. Once the
contest started the anxiety disappeared, aided by the best conditions I’ve ever
experienced in a contest from Guam. The time flew by and I finished with only
one 10 minute break out of the chair to grab a shower. My voice held out,
aside from some challenges during the last couple hours when my mouth decided
it wanted to quit pronouncing phonetics a little early.

This morning the latest tropical circulation started started passing through
with high winds, heavy rain, and embedded thunderstorms. One of my patio chairs
got blown into the base of my vertical about an hour before SR knocking out my
40 and 160m loading, and the wind stirred up a new power line noise source
which caused much frustration with very intermittent S9 noise which made the NB
worthless and covered callers completely. I came just short of my 7K QSO goal
but thanks to the conditions was able to break CT1BOH’s excellent continental
record he set back in 2000 as KH7X. This record was the carrot that kept me in
the chair. I’m thankful because things could have been much worse –
NH2DX(KG6DX) lost power twice over the weekend and the AH2R team is out taking
antennas down off the hotel roof today in some nasty weather before their
flight home.

Thanks everyone for the QSOs… and I hope to see everyone again in WWCW with a
repeat of this weekend’s conditions.

73, Dave KH2/N2NL

CQ Worldwide DX Contest, CW

Call: NH2T
Operator(s): N2NL
Station: N2NL

Class: SOAB(A) HP
QTH: Guam
Operating Time (hrs): 23

Band QSOs Zones Countries
160: 97 14 19
80: 81 22 33
40: 128 34 54
20: 334 35 93
15: 789 39 124
10: 692 38 193
Total: 2122 182 426 Total Score = 3,772,032

Club: Florida Contest Group


Original plans to operate SOAB for the full 48 hours fell through.

I woke up the morning of the contest with a scratchy throat – I probably caught
something on my flight home from a recent trip to DU1. I started feel worse as
the contest started. By 11Z I was 300 QSOs behind last year and feeling
miserable with a full blown sinus infection – watery eyes, clogged ears and
nose. I just wasn’t having fun so I crashed and went to bed. For the rest of
the weekend I turned on packet and S&Ped around calling guys. At times I
felt like Willy Wonka handing out KH2 multiplier candy. Really quite enjoyable
and I still got to play around in the contest without the typical serious SOAB

Some regrets not doing a full effort… but I don’t think I could have made it
through the full weekend anyway. Half way through the contest the T/R relay in
my ancient AL1200 started glitching, so I was forced to run 33% power with my
KPA500 instead, plus I ended up having some unavoidable family responsibilities
come up that would have forced me off the air for about three additional hours
anyway – so I’m glad I made the decision when I did. Conditions were pretty
similar to last year – perhaps a very slight bit better – so it is questionable
if I would have been able to top last year’s score.

Plenty of KH2s on all the bands… almost too many when you are SOAB and
counting on assisted and multi op guys to call in for mults. Sorry for not
spending more time on the low bands where I know KH2 is rarer.

This is almost certainly my last CQWW DX contest from Guam for the foreseeable
future as I am due to transfer in June of 2014. No idea where I am headed, but
odds favorite are that it will be Honolulu for four years.

Still looking forward to lots of Radiosporting fun from Guam until I have to
take everything down to QSY – which may be just before WPX CW time next year.

73, Dave KH2/N2NL

Oceania DX contests

I operated in both the SSB and CW Oceania DX Contests over the past two weekends, as a shakedown to see how I feel and how the new location works. As expected, I felt much better during the CW weekend than SSB, because it’s my favorite mode and uses less effort (for me) than operating phone. The station seems to really work well also – I believe it is ready for the CQWW DX SSB contest later this month.

My scores in the OCDX contest should be enough to win the SOAB category both weekends, and I was able to break my 2010 record by quite a bit during the CW event.

Oceania DX Contest, Phone
Band QSOs Mults
160: 4 4
80: 38 32
40: 175 125
20: 356 236
15: 826 435
10: 418 270
Total: 1817 1102 Total Score = 5,065,894

Oceania DX Contest, CW

Band QSOs Mults
160: 25 22
80: 315 206
40: 346 241
20: 309 219
15: 646 369
10: 550 314
Total: 2191 1371 Total Score = 11,833,101

Stew Perry contest

I listened around and called stations during the Stew Perry 160m contest this weekend. I made two sweeps of the band, one at 10Z and the other at 11Z, recording what I heard.

1000z recording: JH2FXK, N9RV, K9YC, K8IA, W7EW, DU7TET, K7NJ, N0TT, W7RN, KG6H, KH7X

1000UTC recording:

1100z recording: JA3YBK, AA5B, N5RZ, N6RO, N6KI, K9YC, ZL3IX, KH6LC, K8IA, JE1ZWT, W7EW, N9RV, K4PI, K1DQV, N8UM, WD5R, K3ZM, W5ZN, W2GD, NH7O.

1100UTC recording:

If you hear signals changing abruptly in strength – it is because I am switching between Beverages. The band peaked into NA here at 11z – Eastern stations actually got weaker as SR approached. Also, there were times when signals were skewed south of direct path; the 045 degree Beverage was best when normally the 030 wire hears better.

Mission Complete

Earlier this year I decided to try to operate all three CQWW DX contests seriously, to see how I could do.

First, in September was CQWW DX RTTY. It looks like I finished in the top 10 in the world, and broke the existing Oceania record in the process.

Next, in October, came CQWW DX SSB. This was the contest that worried me the most. In 1999 I had operated as KH2/N2NL from KH2JU’s QTH, crashing hard at about the 40 hour mark and finishing with just over 5,000 QSOs and about 7 meg. The station I have put together works well, but I did not anticipate making much more than 5,000 QSOs. It turns out that I did much better than I expected, finishing with over 6,000 QSOs and possibly an eighth or ninth place finish in the world. I fell just over a million points short of Jose CT1BOH’s Oceania record (as KH7R) but it appears that I won the continent, beating a very spirited effort from geographically disadvantaged Hawaii by NH6V at KH6LC.

Finally, last weekend was the CQWW DX CW contest. I had broken the record last year and have all the confidence in the world in this mode (my favorite by far is CW), but I was not looking forward to another 48-hour effort. Once the contest started, however, there was no turning back and when rates were similar to last year, I pushed hard to try to beat my QSO count from last year. I was successful in doing this, making just under 6,500 QSOs and breaking the Oceania record I set last year by over 1/2 million points. It also looks like I may have made the top 10 again, something I am extremely proud of doing from this part of the world.

Contest season for me is over, however I probably will make a few QSOs in the ARRL 160 and 10m contests. CQWW 160 in January is also a fun contest. In the mean time, I will probably continue chasing DX and working the low bands.

CQWW DX SSB results and preps for the CW weekend

I’ve been bad about updating this site. I suppose it is a good thing, but I have been extremely busy – but I know there are those who visit here periodically so I need to be better about updating.

The CQWW DX SSB contest exceeded all of my expectations. I had hoped to break 5,000 QSOs – which would match my last SOAB effort from Guam in this contest back in 1999. It turns out that I broke 6,000 QSOs – but fell short of the Oceania single op record. Conditions were good, but not good enough.

Here is the breakdown:

Band QSOs Zones Countries
160: 5 3 5
80: 124 27 35
40: 602 29 67
20: 1227 35 103
15: 2014 35 96
10: 2414 36 100
Total: 6386 165 406 Total Score = 10,602,889

This score is very close to my CW score from last year. I had more multipliers in 2011, but the QSO total is within 100 or so.

I found a number of small issues with the station during the contest. Most of all, my new remote Beverage switch, utilizing the LM3914, worked very poorly. Specifically, it introduced noise into the feed line, which reduced the effectiveness of the receive antennas. Additionally, the noise floor on my NW and W Beverages was much higher than earlier this year – by 5 or 6 S-units. The European Beverages used to be my quietest antenna, but for the contest it was the noisiest.

I replaced my LM3914 “experiment” with a new design, using +12V, -12V, and 12VAC to switch between four antenna positions. Design is similar to the RCS-4. It works fantastic and all the noise generated by the 3914 IC is gone. I also found and corrected the source of the noise on my NW and W Beverages – a bad connection in the RG-6 cable that feeds these antennas. The bad connection allowed the antennas to function, but high resistance allowed ingress of common mode noise from the shield. Once fixed, my European Beverage is now as quiet as it has been in the past.

Last week I had just finished working PT0S on 40m CW (seconds after sending 5NN) when I heard a loud BOOM of thunder and a loud snap in the shack. I had taken a very close lightning strike. I was completely unaware that a storm had moved in, and lightning is rare on Guam. Turns out I was lucky. So far, the only apparent damage is to one antenna port in my 6X2 antenna switch and the house telephone. I am able to bypass this antenna port – and should be ready for next weekend.

I have a few more things to wrap up this week also before the contest. It’s been busy to find time, because of my work responsibilities as Port Engineer. I have a ship that just entered an availability, so my work load will be greatly increased until the project is complete next February. Here are some photos of the haul out of USCGC ASSATEAGUE, a 110ft Island Class patrol boat based here on Guam.

Looking down at the ship from a camera mounted to the main crane hook about 150ft high.
Divers check out the position of the lifting cradle under the ship
ASSATEAGUE is in mid-air as the floating cranes are shifted around to the pier where the ship will sit until work is complete.


I operated the CQWW DX RTTY contest a couple weekends ago and conditions on 10 and 15 meters were fantastic. Zones 40 and 33 can be extremely difficult from here, due to the polar path, yet I was able to work TF, CT3, and CR2X which is one of the most difficult countries to work from here due to propagation. This is similar to someone in W3 working UA0 in zone 18 on 10, or a European working KH6.

Conditions on the low bands, however, were dismal. I could get nothing going the 1st night and wasted a lot of time CQing on 40 and 80 for few responses. Everyone was on the higher bands! Tropical systems all around Guam added to the noise, and a strong tropical storm over Japan probably curtailed activity somewhat.

The claimed score is about 1 million points over the Oceania SOAB record – so my goal was met – but I felt I left a lot on the table. If I operate this contest again next year (if I get the 1-year extension I requested), I will have to try to do more on the low bands and try some dual-band CQing. I probably could have added 20-30 QSOs or more per hour had I tried this.

This past weekend was the Oceania DX SSB contest. I made only a few contacts; the EU pileup quickly became unmanageable and unruly so I shut off the radio. We had a threatening weather system that put us in a higher typhoon readiness condition. This meant I had to take down my 80/160m vertical and almost my Spiderbeam. As a result, the station was not ready for a full effort.

2012 CQWW WPX CW – late posting

Back in late May I operated the WPX CW contest. Just after the contest, I submitted my log and got on a plane to San Francisco for work. I never got the chance to post anything about the contest.

Conditions last year were brutal, so bad that I quit just over half way into the contest. I was scared to death that the conditions would be just as bad, but they turned out to be great. 15m stayed open into Europe late and 20m was open all night long.

My final score, taken from the computer screen:

t was really nice to break 12 million points, but of course this score will drop significantly with log checking. This should still easily break the existing Oceania SOAB record, 9.1m, held by Bill K4XS (KH7XS).

The continental results showed a nice even mix of Asia, Europe, and North America:

After the contest, I went to visit Danny, KH2JU, who had visitors. J-P, OH6RX, and Harry WX8C operated multi single from Danny’s station. It was really great to have the opportunity to meet Harry for the first time and J-P again after many years – the last time was in 2002 at WRTC in Helsinki.

From left: OH6RX, KG6DX, N2NL, WX8C, KH2JU, KH2JU XYL


Why the 10m contest is not fun

This MP3 gives you the reason I do not really enjoy the 10m contest. Thanks to Russian or Chinese (or both) illegal taxi radios, the 10m band is full of this noise every time there is propagation to these areas – which is every time the band is open to Europe.

It is difficult enough to work an undisciplined EU pileup – but even harder when most callers are 559 and the noise is over S9.

This is not local noise – in the morning, I can run NA on a perfectly quiet band, and it is a pleasure to do so.

10M noise:

2011 CQWW DX CW Contest

Here are some photos of my station setup for the 2011 CQWW DX CW contest.

Final summary after the finish
Station setup taken after the contest (messy!)

I prefer to use two PCs with an interlock to using one computer only. This gives redundancy, in case of problem, and is easier for my brain to manage than trying to remember key strokes and software. My homebrew headphone switch in between the keyboards controls the audio, and I use one paddle that can be switched to the other radio by pressing a foot switch. Not much automation, but it fits my style. I am fortunate to have two computers set up all the time; one for work and the other dedicated to radio.

Spiderbeam + 40/20m vertical. The norfolk pine in the background was used to support a fan dipole for the 2nd radio.
Here is the simple fan dipole I used for 10/15/20 to compliment the Spiderbeam. It worked well enough and had good isolation which was most important.
This is my 40m vertical, with a parallel wire to allow dual band operation. I normally use this on 30m also, but had it cut for 20m for the contest. There are four Beverage RX antennas in the jungle behind the antenna, in a wilderness area of about 150 acres.
This is my 80/160m top loaded vertical. It is actually made of balanced feedline, with one side cut for 80m, the other for 160 with additional wire added for top loading to the 160m side (parallel dual-band vertical)
Close up of the top of the 80/160m antenna. The 80m side is an inverted L (all one side of ladder line). The 160m side of the radiator has extension wires added at the apex and end of the 160m side of the ladder line to add top loading.


K3LR on 160m

I worked K3LR on 160m during the CQWW DX SSB contest last night. He was one of three signals I heard on the band – the other two were NQ4I and B7P, neither of which could hear me. I recorded this just after working him, right at a peak close to his sunrise. I listened quite a bit for W3LPL, KC1XX, and others but heard nothing. I did work them on 80m however.

 K3LR (N2NC, op) CQing on 160m during the CQWW DX SSB contest:

I am listening on my 1080ft long NA Beverage, with the K3’s NB engaged with a 1-1 setting. This and my east Beverages are noisier because they are pointed toward populated areas of Guam. My EU Beverage, on the other hand, has no noise sources between it and the ocean, only jungle.